First Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC)
February 18, 2003
8:45 am to 1:30 pm
Monica Patten (Co-chair)
Eileen Sarkar (Co-Chair)
|Brenda Cameron Couch
|From the Voluntary Sector
||From Canadian Heritage
Record of Discussion
Eileen Sarkar and Monica Patten welcomed participants to the
first meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC). JSC members
and other participants introduced themselves and expressed their
hopes and concerns about this new phase of the Voluntary Sector
Initiative. All agreed on the need to maintain the momentum of
the first phase of the VSI and acknowledged the challenges involved
in moving forward with the implementation of the Accord and Codes
as well as the recommendations of joint tables.
The Co-chairs outlined the new governance structures for VSI,
including government-only, sector-only, and joint committees.
Ministerial Consultative Committee (MCC)
• Successor to the Reference Group of Ministers
• Members still to be confirmed
Joint Steering Committee (JSC)
• forum for joint work/discussion
• will direct and oversee the remaining work of the Initiative,
including implementation of the Accord and Codes
• will also report on progress of VSI to MCC
Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF)
• composed of senior leaders in the sector
• will be the link between the VSI and the sector
• will focus on the implementation of the Accord and Codes
and will help maintain the momentum and visibility of these
• intends to engage colleagues across the country through
various coalitions and networks of the voluntary sector.
Deputy Minister Accountability
• at the direction of the Clerk of the Privy Council, all
departments and agencies are to appoint a champion to implement
the Accord and Codes of Good Practice for funding and policy dialogue;
virtually all have done so
• champions will also support reporting on progress related
to the implementation as part of the performance contracts for
ADM Steering Committee (ADMSC)
• provide horizontal leadership for VSI through Canadian
Heritage as the lead department for the initiative
• present advice to the MCC
• contribute strategic advice and government direction to
government members of the JSC
• ensure the interests of the broader federal community
are taken into account
• Eileen Sarkar, Canadian Heritage is Chair, Andrew Treusch,
HRDC is vice-chair
The voluntary sector members tabled a document outlining the
priorities of the Voluntary Sector Forum for the next two years.
The document is attached.
The first annual meeting between voluntary sector leaders and
the Ministerial Consultative Committee will be held in October
2003, coinciding with the anniversary of the end of phase one
of VSI. This will allow time to make progress on recommendations
for further work and report on it at this meeting. The possibility
of more frequent meetings will be reviewed by the JSC and determined
depending on need.
Joint Steering Committee Terms of Reference
The draft terms of reference for the JSC were circulated to all
members in advance of the meeting and were are also vetted more
broadly within the voluntary sector and federal departments.
• Conflict of interest guidelines for voluntary sector
members will be appended to the terms of reference.
• Generally, proceedings of JSC meetings will be made public
and the voluntary sector and government members will share information
with their respective sides; however, the JSC will respect the
principle of non-attribution and will not share the positions
of individual organizations or departments. In addition, the JSC
may determine that some discussions will not be made public. Co-chairs
will canvass members at the conclusion of each meeting to make
• Terms of reference approved.
• VSAD will send the Treasury Board Secretariat’s
policy on volunteers, referenced in Annex B to the terms of reference,
to JSC members.
• VSFS and VSAD will develop options for a mechanism for
conflict resolution for the JSC, to fulfil section 1.5 of the
terms of reference. Options will be presented at next JSC meeting.
Regulatory Joint Table
Bill McCloskey updated JSC on the recommendations of the Regulatory
Joint Table. The table will deliver its final report to the Ministers
of Finance and Revenue, with a copy to the Minister of Canadian
Heritage, in mid- to late-March 2003. (Presentation attached.)
Gordon Floyd flagged four related issues for follow-up:
• broader dissemination of the report of the Regulatory
• new appeals process
• institutional reform
• future of the alternative process dealing with advocacy
and the definition of charity
• JSC agreed that the report of the Regulatory Joint Table
will be made public.
• JSC will maintain a watching brief on the four related
issues; senior Finance officials will be invited to a future JSC
meeting to discuss work of the alternative process.
Joan Katz, Director of the Voluntary Sector Affairs Directorate
at Canadian Heritage, updated JSC on the awareness initiative.
Darlene Bessey noted that the Voluntary Sector Forum accepts
using the Canadian Heritage agency of record to develop and implement
the awareness initiative provided the agency engages the voluntary
sector to the fullest possible extent in all phases of the work;
the rationale for using the agency of record, rather than a Request
for Proposals process, will be publicly communicated due to the
importance of this issue to the voluntary sector.
Andrew Treusch updated JSC on the work of Capacity Advisory Committee.
(Presentation attached.) JSC members expressed support for the
various projects and research and noted that a recent Volunteer
Calgary publication includes an article on measuring the economic
value of volunteerism.
Marcel Lauzière noted that there had been good collaboration
at the Capacity Table. He stated the HR projects were very important
to the sector and it was important this work continue.
VSAD will circulate the Volunteer Calgary article to JSC members.
Information Management / Information Technology
Mary Carman updated JSC on the work of the IM/IT Advisory Group.
(Presentation attached.) The final report of the IM/IT Joint Table
is to be released soon and will set the stage for Industry Canada
to issue Requests for Proposals and/or letters of intent to move
forward on the five recommendations in the report.
Marcel Lauzière expressed concern about the delay in releasing
the report and the reallocation of a portion of the IM/IT Joint
Table’s budget to ongoing VSI governance activities.
It was noted that the original VSI investment did not include
funding for governance activities by the government or the voluntary
sector beyond the first two years of the initiative. As the new
government lead for the VSI, Canadian Heritage is working within
government and with the voluntary sector to identify potential
sources of funding to continue this work.
The JSC terms of reference call for the development of an integrated
work plan for the implementation of VSI Phase I recommendations.
It is important to tell the VSI story to Canadians. The integrated
workplan will provide all parties involved in VSI with a cohesive
picture of where they are going and how their activities fit into
the larger context of the initiative.
VSFS and VSAD, in close collaboration with the advisory bodies,
will develop an integrated work plan, including a budget, timelines,
and deliverables, for discussion at the next meeting of the JSC.
Accord and Codes of Good Practice Implementation Plan
Linda Savoie and Gary Evans from VSAD and VSFS presented the
proposed implementation plan for the Accord Between the Government
of Canada and the Voluntary Sector and the Codes of Good Practice
on Funding and Policy Dialogue. (Presentation attached.)
JSC members expressed support for the proposed approach, complimented
the secretariats for the excellent preliminary joint work, and
agreed this is a critical area on which they must move forward.
Concerns were expressed about implementing such an ambitious plan
with limited resources, the need to raise awareness among voluntary
sector organizations, especially at the grass roots level, and
the challenges involved in measuring progress. It will be important
to take a creative, incremental approach, making use of existing
networks. The voluntary sector members noted resources need to
be found to implement the Accord and Codes in the sector.
VSAD and VSFS will proceed with implementation plans and come
back to JSC with options concerning the timing of the first annual
The VSF will submit an implementation plan and budget to Canadian
Voluntary sector members suggested that simultaneous interpretation
is not necessary at future JSC meetings. Government members agreed
to consider this issue on a case by case basis to ensure all members
and invited guests are comfortable speaking in the official language
of their choice.
JSC members will report back to their colleagues on this meeting;
overall, report will be positive and optimistic about future joint
The next JSC meeting will take place around the end of April;
date will be set as soon as possible to accommodate travel planning.
* Voluntary Sector Forum Secretariat (VSFS)
** Voluntary Sector Affairs Directorate (VSAD)